Kent

Corn snakes could become naturalized in the South East

Corn snakes could become naturalized in the south-east of England the RSPCA has said after a man found two of the reptiles in his back garden.

Keith Simpson-Wells runs the reptile rescue at RSPCA in Brighton.

Currently they have about 12 corn snakes, most of which are escaped pets but some are deliberately released.

Mr Simpson-Wells said: "It's possible they could become a native [naturalised] snake, as long as they can hibernate somewhere."

He also said that corn snakes are often bought by people new to snake keeping and sometimes owners get bored with them and want to move on to bigger things and so let them go.

Gerry Heath from Maidstone found one in his back garden and another in his neighbour's walnut tree a year apart. As as snake lover he decided to keep them both.

Corn snakes are native to North America and they can grow up to about 6ft (1.8m) in length.

Conditions in the South East are fine for them and RSPCA inspectors regularly find them and bring them into the centres.

Many are also handed in from members of the public.

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